Dairy farms record fall in milk sale in Gujarat

Karnataka is ranked second after Gujarat in milk production. According to the state government, milk production in the State has presently reached 86 lakh litres a day. (File)

Dairy farms in the state have reported a fall in milk sale despite surge in collection as nationwide lockdown to fight corona has shut bulk buyers like hotels, sweetmeat shops and tea stalls and omitted milk products from essential items.

In Saurashtra and Kutch, dairy unions said their daily milk collection from farmers has spiked in the past four days but sales have gone down. Chairman of Kutch-based Sarhad Dairy Valamji Humble said his dairy's daily milk collection has increased by five per cent over the last five days to 3.5 lakh litres.

"Since the restrictions came into force, people have stopped making milk solids (mava). Similarly, those making home deliveries by directly procuring from farmers have also stopped business. Now, more and more farmers are selling milk to 648 village cooperative societies which are our members. On the other hand, sale of milk has come down from 1.5 lakh litres to 1 lakh litres as retailers are unable to make home deliveries," he said.

Similar is the situation in Gopal Dairy of Rajkot. "Hotels and tea stalls, which are our customers, have shut down. Also many city residents have returned to their native villages due to the virus outbreak. Our sale has gone down by around 30,000 litres and shrunk to 3 lakh litres on Wednesday," said Gopal Dairy chairman Govind Ranpariya.

Vipul Savaliya, the chairman of Amar Dairy of Amreli, too said his union had been witnessing a similar sale crunch as small sweetmeat sellers have shut shop and stopped purchasing milk from farmers and private suppliers.

Ramsinh Parmar, the chairman of Anand-based Kaira District Milk Marketing Association, popularly called Amul, said milk procurement has gone down because allied businesses have shut but there is no shortage of supply of milk for daily consumption nor any interruption in the transport.

"Amul is functional in Gujarat and Maharashtra. We have no problem with collection, procurement or distribution. The milk collection is high and procurement is lower than usual because some of the businessess that also source milk directly are closed,” said Parmar.

The state government will post government officers in all the 18 milk cooperative unions under the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation to keep a tab on milk supply.

"The daily milk production in the state is three crore litres and our daily demand is 50-52 lakh litres. Even today (Wednesday) 50 lakh litres were distributed in the morning and additional five lakh litres will be provided in the evening," said Ashwani Kumar, secretary to chief minister.

Spokesperson of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd told The Indian Express the government had asked special passes to be issued to the transporters of milk and not disrupt supply chain.

Milk cooperatives are also stressing on social distancing at collection centers. "Banas Dairy accounts for 30 per cent of the total milk procured by GCMMF. Though milk producers are getting used to the social distancing they need to maintain at milk collection centres, milk procurement has been smooth," said Shankar Chaudhary, the chairman of Banas Dairy in North Gujarat.

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